Results tagged ‘ Tim Wakefield ’

Happy Labor Day

I hope everyone is having a nice BBQ today and following Brownie points and twitter — @IanMBrowne — from their blackberries!! Ha ha.

At any rate, news of the day.

David Ortiz is not in the lineup today, despite a .354 average with two homers lifetime against Buehrle. Because Terry Francona is committed to catching Jason Varitek on days Josh Beckett pitches, someone had to sit, and it wasn’t going to be Mike Lowell, who has already had his share of days off of late, and belted a homer yesterday.

Tim Wakefield won’t pitch for a while. The club put the brakes on and told him to skip his side session today, and will likely give him about a 10-day break before he next takes the ball, perhaps when the Red Sox play at Baltimore the weekend of Sept. 18-20.

It sounds more and more like Jed Lowrie’s season will end today, when he plays in Pawtucket’s season finale. It has simply been a lost year for Lowrie, so he might as well take some rest and then have a great winter of strenghtening the wrist. Nothing official yet, but it sounds like that is the way it will go.

Byrd is the word

I’m looking forward to the return of Paul Byrd to the Major Leagues, as the crafty rigthy is expected to kick off his second tenure for the Sox on Sunday against the Blue Jays.

Bye bye, Tazawa — for now. However, look for the righty to be right back on the roster on Tuesday. That is why he was optioned to the Gulf Coast League instead of Pawtucket.

The Monday off-day gives Red Sox manager Terry Francona some nice flexibility with his rotation for the series at Tropicana Field. Jon Lester will step into Tim Wakefield’s spot on Tuesday, as the knuckleballer has once again been sidelined by back problems. Josh Beckett will likely take the ball Wednesday, with Clay Buchholz going on Thursday. Byrd will pitch again on Friday, most likely, with an unnamed starter for Saturday. Perhaps Wakefield would be ready for a return to action by then, or the nod could go to Tazawa.

Wake starting Wednesday; What about Penny?

Tim Wakefield will reclaim his spot in the rotation on Wednesday at Fenway against the White Sox. What about Brad Penny?

That remains to be seen. Manager Terry Francona said that the team told Brad Penny he’s got to “kind of hang tight a little bit.”

To me, that means the club is waiting to see how Tazawa does today. If Tazawa has a good outing, perhaps he will start Thursday. If not, maybe they give Penny another shot.

Varitek is behind the plate today, with Victor Martinez playing first and Youk over at third.

Wake to the rescue?

While Brad Penny was getting shelled by the Yankees — to the tune of 10 hits and eight runs over four-plus innings — Tim Wakefield was making perhaps his final step toward re-claiming his spot in the Boston Red Sox’s pitching rotation.

The veteran knuckleballer, pitching at Triple-A Pawtucket, allowed two hits and one run in a start against Rochester.

Wakefield walked one and struck out four and could slide back into the Boston rotation as early as Wednesday — Penny’s next scheduled start. Wakefield could also pitch Thursday in place of Junichi Tazawa.

At any rate, the Red Sox have badly missed Wakefield during his time on the disabled list. The 43-year-old right-hander went 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 17 starts before the All-Star break.

While Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have been tremendous at the top of the rotation, the Red Sox have struggled to get quality starts in the 3-5 spots, though Clay Buchholz has emerged with three strong performances in a row.

Wakefield was first placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain, but it then became a nerve issue which caused weakness in his left calf. The concern with Wakefield the last couple of weeks is whether he could field his position effectively, and without risking further injury.

The Red Sox could reveal as early as Saturday when the veteran will return to the rotation.

Knuckling back in

Good news on the injury front today. Tim Wakefield will pitch on the road at Gwinnett County for Triple-A Pawtucket. He should come back into the rotation right after that, meaning he could start as early as Aug. 20 at Toronto, or perhaps at home against the Yankees over the weekend.

Dice-K also took a positive step today, throwing his first bullpen since going on the DL. Matsuzaka will throw again on Friday, and then on Monday, and presumably start facing hitters after that.

Mike Lowell is not in tonight’s lineup, as he is the odd man out a second night in a row.

Another tropical, er, Tropicana night

Here at the Trop. Where are all of you on this nice summer night?

Just to give you a quick update, Tim Wakefield’s back and shoulder feel great, but his calf has been stiff, very stiff. Seems to be a nerve issue. That said, the knuckleballer is doing better than a few days ago, and could throw a side session tomorrow.

Dice-K will throw his first side since going on the DL next week, either Tuesday or Wednesday. You won’t see the Dice Man pitch for the Sox until September.

Still nothing on the David Ortiz situation, as the slugger is waiting for the Players Association to get his test results from the Federal Government to figure out exactly what he tested positive for in 2003.

Back comes Buchholz

The talk show caller circuit will have to find a new topic of conversation to complain about, as Clay Buchholz is indeed coming back to the Boston rotation — just not in the way people expected.

Tim Wakefield is down with a lower back injury, so Buchholz is back, and he’ll pitch Wednesday night.

Fans have been salivating to see more of Buchholz, and rightfully so, given the way he has pitched this season. Now they will get a chance, as he will make at least two starts before Wakefield is eligible to return from the DL on Aug. 2.

It’s interesting talking to Buchholz and seeing him interact with teammates. He is a completely different person than he was last year. He is completely self assured and feels like he belongs, where last year he had that deer in the headlights look from start to finish.

One peeve of mine is the knee-jerk fans who think John Smoltz is done because he’s been inconsistent his first five starts. John is still feeling his way back after missing more than a year with surgery. This guy is a Hall of Famer for a reason. I am of strong belief that Smoltz will play a very significant role down the stretch.His first five innings were terrific last night, and one bad inning shouldn’t erase that memory. The jury is still out, but give the guy a chance at least.

Extra, extra for Josh and Wake

If Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield pitch in tonight’s All-Star Game, you know that the game has gone extra innings.

Beckett pitched on Sunday, and after conversations with AL manager Joe Maddon, he has labeled himself an emergency valve.

Wakefield’s situation is different because he is working on five days of rest. What Maddon has in mind for Wake is that he will be the last man standing, and could pitch a bunch of innings if there was an extended game.

Beckett and Wakefield didn’t express any disappointment at all about the possibility — or even likelihood — that they won’t pitch tonight. They’ve both had a great time just absorbing the All-Star atmosphere.

Jonathan Papelbon was informed by Maddon that he will likely pitch the seventh.

As always, follow along on Twitter tonight. http://twitter.com/IanMBrowne

The venerable All-Star

I’m sure Jason Bay, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis and Jonathan Papelbon don’t mind that they are going to be overshadowed by the team’s sixth All-Star today. This is Tim Wakefield’s day.

At 42 years old, after 188 wins, 2,904 2/3 innings, 1,960 strikeouts and countless anemic swings taken at his knuckler, Wakefield is finally an All-Star.

How rare is this? Wakefield is the oldest pitcher to become an All-Star for the first time since Satchel Paige at 46 years old in 1952. Jamie Moyer (40 in 2003), Connie Marrero (40 in 1951) are the only other first-time All-Stars to be 40 or older. And captain Carl Yastrzemski is the only other Red Sox player to appear in an All-Star Game at 42 or older, doing it in 1982 and 1983.

It was definitely a nice moment for Wake when they announced the first five All-Stars before the top of the third inning, and then finished with Wakefield. The crowd game him a huge hand and Wakefield acknowledged the gesture with a wave of his hand.

Wake could provide relief

With the bullpen getting taxed in Friday’s 13-inning win, veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield volunteered for relief duty on Saturday.

It is Wakefield’s normal side day, and even if he pitches, it wouldn’t affect his next scheduled turn in the rotation, which is Tuesday night against the Marlins.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona is hoping he won’t have to use Wakefield, but was glad to have the option.

“Wake is going to be available and hopefully it’s just one of those [situations] where we can use the guys we want to, and use them correctly, knowing he’s behind them,” said Francona. “If something happened early, that would be a situation [to use Wakefield] also. He’s aware of it. That helps us a lot. Wakey is pitching on Tuesday. We got pretty deep last night.”

Wakefield last pitched in the bullpen in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, pitching three scoreless innings to earn the win in a 14-inning epic. Of course, that performance was most remembered for Jason Varitek having three passed balls in that top of the 13th inning, but somehow clutching strike three as the Red Sox got out of it unscathed.

In other news, shortstop Julio Lugo, who had a key pinch-hit on Friday, was in the starting lineup for the first time in eight days.

“He hasn’t played in a while and I don’t know that’s in anybody’s best interest, even maybe [Nick Green],” Francona said. “Giving him a day helps everybody.”

Ian Browne

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